Storm erosion brings 200-year-old shipwreck to the surface of a Florida beach
Florida experienced an active hurricane season in 2015. This was due to a direct hit from Category 4 Hurricane Ian September and two unusual late season storms ,. Severe beach erosion from the last two storms helped uncover what is likely a wooden ship that dates back to the 1800s in Daytona Beach Shores. It is possible that the ship was hidden on the eastern coast Florida two centuries ago.
The structure is between 60 and 100 feet long and was found sticking out of the sand over Thanksgiving weekend, near homes that had collapsed during November’s Hurricane Nicole.
” It’s an incredible sight to see a shipwreck at the beach. It’s a mystery. It’s not there every day, but it’s there every day the next, so it really captivates your imagination,” Chuck Meide , a maritime archaeologist, told the AP .. Meide led a team from St. Augustine, Florida that examined the ship. Meide is the director of research at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.
Meide strongly believes the structure is a wreck due to the way it was constructed and the materials such as iron bolts found on it. “It’s rare, but it’s not uncommon, and it seems with climate changes and more intense hurricane season, it’s happening more often,” Meide stated , in reference to the shipwreck.
Earlier this week, the team removed the sand and dug a shallow trench around the wooden timbers, made sketches, and took measurements in an effort to help crack the 200-year-old case.
When more of the structure was revealed, the team continued digging to prevent any damage to the wood. This process is slower but safer than using shovels according to Arielle Cathers , one member of the team who was involved in the dig.
Some of the timbers of the ship were buried by the waves and sand after the initial discovery about two weeks ago. The team does not intend to discover the entire length of the ship. They will only measure, draw, and possibly take wood samples to verify its origins.
Currently, there is no plan to remove the ship from the beach. It is well protected in the packed sand and has a price tag of millions of dollars.
Hurricanes is not the only weather phenomenon to reveal buried relics from the past. A similar shipwreck was discovered in October by drought on the Mississippi River. Baton Rouge, Lousiana resident Patrick Ford found the shipwrecked remains of the Brookhill, a trading vessel dating back to the early 20th Century. “I immediately texted my friends and was like, “holy moly! I think I found something!”” Ford said to WBRZ, the city’s ABC News affiliate.
Lousiana state archaeologist Chip McGimsey stated that they have known about Brookhill for a while. “We believe this is a ship that was manufactured in 1896 in Indiana for trade here,” McGimsey explained to WBRZ. This ship, along with its sister ship Istrouma, was destroyed. “On September 29th of 1915, there was a big storm… both ships sank.”
It is not uncommon for items to be left behind or washed up on the shores after storms. In Martin County, Florida (about 160 miles south of Volusia County), Hurricane Nicole’s wind and waves uncovered the skeletal remains of six people from what scientists believe to be a Native American burial ground.
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